Same provider, different location: Variation in patient satisfaction scores between freestanding and hospital-based emergency departments

From The American Journal of Emergency Medicine (hat tip: Dr. Menadue)


Patient satisfaction scores have become quality benchmarks for hospitals, are publicly reported, and are often tied to financial incentives. We determined whether patient satisfaction scores for individual emergency medicine providers varied according to the clinical setting.


We obtained patient satisfaction survey results from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018 for patients treated at 6 freestanding (FED) and 11 hospital-based emergency departments (HBED). Differences in mean score by ED facility were tested for significance. Mean score differences with 95% confidence intervals are presented. Univariate and multivariable logistic regression analysis was conducted to predict the odds of receiving different scores by type of ED facility and adjusted for patient and provider demographics and ED length of stay.


Sixty-six providers with 3743 total surveys were analyzed: FED (n = 1974) and HBED (n = 1769). Overall satisfaction scores were higher for FED compared to HBED surveys 1.13 [95% CI, 1.0–1.3]. In multivariable logistic regression, we found patients seen at the FEDs were 42% more likely to rate providers courtesy as “very good” compared to patients seen at a HBED [OR: 1.42, 95% CI (0.94–2.15)]. Similarly, patients from FEDs showed increased likelihood to rate providers as “very good” for keeping patients informed about treatment [OR: 1.70, 95% CI (1.21–2.39)], took time to listen to patients [OR: 1.66, 95% CI (0.72–1.60)] and concerned for patient’s comfort [OR: 1.54, 95% CI (1.12–2.12)].


Individual providers, who practice at both types of facilities, consistently received higher satisfaction ratings from patients at FEDs compared to HBEDs.

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